16 Dec 2019 Story Environmental rights and governance

Biodiversity-related conventions now better integrated into global environmental negotiations

Photo by Mylene, Pixabay

The 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES Conference of the Parties 18) was held in August 2019 in Sri-Lanka. At the conference, parties deliberated on the best practices that would improve how the legislation, regulation and operating practices for international trade in species can avert the accelerating rate of species extinctions across the globe.

A landmark report released in 2019—Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services—by the  Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services intimated that globally, nature is declining at rates unprecedented in human history. The report made clear that the rate of species extinction is accelerating, with crucial impacts on people and the environment, including biodiversity.

At the conference’s forum, observers paid heed to the recommendations of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services report to avert current and impending environmental crises by revising the trade rules of dozens of wildlife species that are under threat as a result of unsustainable trade practices, including overharvesting, overfishing, or overhunting.

The parties applauded the initiatives and objectives of the conference and expressed their commitment to play their role in fast-tracking the implementation of new conference’s listings. A representative from Japan noted that appropriate trade in wildlife can contribute to conservation and urged parties to participate more in wildlife conservation and community development practices in an integrated way to support custodians in range states. Japan also called for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Florato take a holistic approach and cooperate with other biodiversity conventions.

Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), urged all parties concerned to work collaboratively and pursue a common goal when handling global environmental issues such as oceans, biodiversity and implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Ivonne Higuero, Secretary General of the Convention, emphasized the need to modernize compliance mechanisms, and stressed the importance of cooperation with other Multilateral Environmental Agreements and intergovernmental organizations. She commended the Conference of the Parties for becoming a better roadmap for countries to help them implement the Convention’s objectives, catalyzing transformative changes and integrating the changes into future development plans, in alignment with the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.

Several strategic decisions were made at the meeting including:

  • Adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora Strategic Vision Post2020, recognizing the importance of the work of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity Ecosystem Services, positioning the Convention as a leader in promoting transformative change, environmental, economic and social sustainability, and the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
  • Adoption of a decision recognizing the critical role of local and indigenous communities in wildlife conservation and sustainable management and their needs for adequate incomes and livelihoods
  • Establishment of a working group on capacity-building to advise on an integrated capacity-building framework to improve implementation of the Convention

For more information, please contact: Mamadou.Kane[at]un.org I Diane.Kilaimi[at]un.org I Dorris.Chepkoech[at]un.org.